What drivers said at Atlanta Motor Speedway


HAMPTON, Ga. — A look at what drivers said during and after Sunday’s Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Joey Logano — Winner: “We lost our track position there for a minute, but was able to just stay patient and work on it and this amazing fast race car allowed me to really make some great moves on the racetrack and getting the push there on the last lap to get to the outside of Brad (Keselowski). Just getting to break the plane of his back bumper was gonna be my only chance there, and I was able to get him there and get the push from the 20 (Christopher Bell) on the backstretch. Overall, just a really fast Ford Mustang is what it came down to. It’s nice to win with Autotrader on the car. I don’t think I’ve ever won a race without Shell on the car. It means a lot to get this one in Victory Lane. It’s been a lot of years coming. The intensity ratcheted up, obviously.  I’ve got great teammates, and I wanted to stick with them. There were plenty of times I could have moved up, but I didn’t want to leave my teammates down there. I wanted them behind me. I knew how fast their cars were. If I could pick one, that’s the one I want, so I was able to try to keep them with me. I thought with two to go the outside lane got three cars, four cars clear and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna make it here,’ but I got a good push – enough to get to the outside of the 6, and that was the big difference.”

MORE: Atlanta Cup results, driver points

Brad Keselowski — Finished 2nd: “The bottom came with a huge run. I don’t know how. I thought I had it blocked. Joey just kept shaking. His car didn’t stall out. I couldn’t get the push down the back. I thought, ‘Just get a push down the back.’ The 20 car (Bell) just hauled down there. But great run all in all for the RFK King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang. Glad a Ford won. A heck of a battle. The coolest thing about this race is two veterans showed you can run a race here side by side, bump-drafting, and not wreck the field. It can happen if you race respectfully. I thought everybody did a great job. We were right there. Proud of my team and the effort. Nothing much we could do there at the end. Night and day from where we were a year ago. 100%. Keep running like this, the good finishes and the wins will happen.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 3rd: “Got a good finish out of it, and I’m happy with that. I don’t know, I had the position the 22 (Joey Logano) had, and I decided to bail on it and go to the top. To come so close is disappointing, but very happy with a third-place result. It was a pretty smooth day really. We started in the back, and we were able to get up front and get some stage points at the end of Stage 1, so that was pretty cool. Stage 2, the green flag cycle didn’t really work our way. Ultimately, we were able to keep the DeWalt Camry clean all day and put ourselves in position at the end of the race, so that’s all you can ask for. Speedway racing is a lot about luck and, fortunately, it worked out for us at Daytona and now here.”

Corey LaJoie — Finished 4th: “It’s like this taboo, second sucks. Fourth is great. Fourth is great for our CELSIUS Camaro and our small team. Just a great points day. We started off the year, West Coast swing, really solid. To come back here, a bit of a crapshoot. To get another career best here… I don’t expect to show up and instantly win a race. You have to keep putting yourself in these positions, like Joey (Logano). That is why he wins all the time, because he’s up front all the time. As I get some more confidence, race around these guys, these guys see me up there racing with them, our day is going to come. I hope he (Logano) gives me a shout-out for pushing him — gave him a good shot there at the end. I was probably fourth or fifth in the top lane there. I had an opportunity to get down and as soon as I didn’t take it, I was like – man, that was the race. That was probably with 18 or 20 to go. That’s why these guys make millions of dollars, They’re pretty good and know where to put their car. Honestly, I think as this track gets a little more wear and abrasiveness to it, it’s going to be like old Daytona where you’re bumping and sliding around, and your car has to be fast. I felt like the track lost 10 to 15 percent of grip from last year, so handling was a big thing. You could really drive or push if you wanted to, or you could be sideways. Our Chevy drove great. We were able to pick the right lanes at the right time, just a little short.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 5th:  “We’ll try to just go back and look at it. Our Xfinity Toyota Camry TRD was as fast as the Xfinity 10 G network. We had Toyotas lined up there, and I didn’t know if that was our move there with all three together or Christopher (Bell) was going to do it on his own. We’ll talk about it, for sure. I don’t know, maybe if we all would have went it would have worked out for one of us. I’m not really sure. It didn’t really work for one of us, so it’s definitely something for us to think about so that one of us can win the race there. It’s a bummer that we let someone else get it done. There was definitely some hard work going on. Joey (Logano) was doing Joey things. He was making the bottom work really good. … I was also at the same time trying to create an opportunity where all three – myself, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin — could all break away and take advantage of momentum. It didn’t quite work out timing-wise as it needed to for that. All in all, it was an okay day.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 6th: “The last pit road incident where cars are coming in and I’m coming out, that’s just part of it. The traffic jam that you get there. But speedways in general like this one, it’s just kind of two-by-two and you can’t really pull out to a third lane. I just restarted I think fourth on the outside row and that’s where I ended up. You have to stay in line and just watch the cars in front of you to see if you can make a hole. It’s just so circumstantial that you want to be able to stay as close as you can to each other to give each other runs. I thought there was one opportunity there where we all were clear and we could have all pulled down in front of the 22 (Joey Logano), and we didn’t. That probably was the key moment for us, but overall it is what it is, and it’s probably the most Toyotas we’ve had in the top 10 all year. Just have to continue to get better. We just need more speed, more handling, more everything to get a little better.”

Erik Jones — Finished 8th: “Just looking at the day, I thought we were just stuck farther back. It was just hard to pass. We didn’t qualify good, so it just took a while for us to get up there, and we never really did, and then we got in a crash there. Happy to get a top 10 for the No. 43 Allegiant Chevy. We needed that. We just needed a good finish. We haven’t had one this year, so it was nice to do that. I hope we keep it rolling. We just kind of squeaked that one out there at the end with some stuff working out on the last two laps for us. But happy with that, proud of that. Glad we can hopefully get some momentum going and keep rolling.”

Ty Gibbs — Finished 9th: “I feel like from where we started to where we finished, we made really good progression. The team, my 54 group, never gave up on me, and we had great stops all day. We had a very fast Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD, just ran out of laps there. Probably could have worked our way up a little bit and been more aggressive, but it just comes with experience, but we’re plate racing and that’s just part of it and just learning and we’ll move on and go to the next race.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 10th: “We had a decent day. Our No. 8 Lenovo Camaro was fast enough. I think there were probably 20 of them that were fast enough. It was just a matter of positioning yourself and getting positioned there toward the end. I got shuffled out to around 16th and then made our way back into the top 10. Tried to make a move there with four to go on the outside and just hit a block or a wall of air and just slowed up. Top-10 finish. We’ll take that and head to COTA.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 12th: “It was a smooth, solid day for the No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Chevy team. I felt pretty competitive running in the top 10 or 15 throughout the race. Really felt like we had a decent shot, we were just a little too far back there at the end to really make anything happen. But solid execution and solid job by everyone on the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Chevy team.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 16th: “I thought we made the best of it. We got a little bit of damage in one of the wrecks, and that probably didn’t help our speed, but we were just lacking speed in general, which made it tough for us to make moves and we kinda got stuck. Pit stops were really good, strategy was really good. We did everything right and the car handled well, just got stuck there in pack racing and we didn’t have a lot of raw speed in the car. We just tried to make the best there with what we had and we got out with a clean race car.”

Josh Berry — Finished 18th: “I thought it was a solid day for the No. 9 NAPA Chevy. I feel like we definitely improved. We got up there in the top 10, and we were pretty solid before that wreck. After that, the car was just a little too damaged to be too aggressive. All-in-all, we finished the race, learned a lot and had some fun.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 27th: “Long hard-fought day. Proud of our team for never giving up and getting us past the checkered. Onward to Texas.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 30th: “I’m OK. It knocked the wind out of me, mostly because it caught me by surprise, but I’m OK. I blew a tire. I just blew a tire. I have no idea why. We had way less laps on that set of tires than we had earlier, so I don’t know.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 31st: “There was nowhere to go. Nobody had been having tire issues, so I wasn’t even expecting the No. 10 (Aric Almirola) to have a tire issue in front of me. Even if I did, I didn’t have time to react. It’s a bummer. Just frustrating. I was finally up front on this style of race track and still end up with a DNF. I don’t know, just frustrating.”

William Byron — Finished 32nd: “It was superspeedway-type racing. I thought, for the most part, it was pretty single-file all day. That was a little discouraging because the bottom lane wouldn’t really go that much. But as we all started to save fuel on the top, the bottom started to surge there. It looked like the No. 1 (Ross Chastain) and the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) just got connected there into Turn 1 and got the No. 4 loose. It’s just part of racing. That’s the way it goes — not really in our control. We were up there running in the top five and doing what we needed to do.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 33rd: “I think he (Ross Chastain) just caught me so quick right there in the middle of the corner, and then he kind of was up on the right rear part of the corner and he came back down and when he came back down it just spun the thing out. I don’t think he actually even hit me, but it started chattering the rear tires, and then I was just along for the ride.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 34th: “I don’t even know what caused our wreck. I was looking back and forth between the windshield and the mirror trying to block people from being aggressive and taking you in the middle of three-wide. I looked back and forth, and by the time I looked back they were wrecking in front of me. It’s just one of those deals. It was such a frustrating deal. I feel like our qualifying effort was not very good, obviously. I about crashed in qualifying, but I felt really good about our car in the race, but I just could not gain track position to maintain it. It’s really, really hard to leapfrog your way forward a lot of spots. It’s just frustrating how that worked out. Once you’re back there, you’re bound to get pushed into all the wrecks for sure.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 35th: “First off, our Violet Defense Ford Mustang was really fast, and I’m proud of everybody for that. I made a mistake on pit road by getting a speeding penalty, and that put us back in the field. We drove back up to third. The speed was there, and we were doing it without unnecessary pushes in the center of the corner. I haven’t seen a replay to know exactly what happened, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling.”

Dr. Diandra: Atlanta a chance for Trackhouse to regain momentum


Today’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a chance for Trackhouse Racing to regain the momentum it lost last week.

Daniel Suárez entered Phoenix with three top-10 finishes, including one top five. He incurred multiple speeding penalties at Phoenix: He sped on pit road. He then had to make a pass-through lap and sped doing that (he cited a mistake with the team’s pit road calculation). Although Suárez fought his way back to the lead lap, he finished 22nd.

Ross Chastain had two top 10s and a 12th-place finish — and led the standings. Chastain ran sixth approaching the last restart, but found himself in the wrong place, which was anywhere near Denny Hamlin. Chastain finished 24th.

In addition to Trackhouse regaining its momentum, a win could also slow Hendrick Motorsports’ charge.

And a Trackhouse win would make five out of five wins for Chevy.

Trackhouse’s best Next Gen superspeedway

My last post highlighted underdogs with the potential for a strong finish at Atlanta. In overall average finish at superspeedways in 2022, Chastain ranks sixth and Suárez ninth.

But superspeedways are not created equal.

Atlanta features the same type of pack racing as Daytona and Talladega — but Atlanta is a full mile shorter. Everything happens faster. Drivers don’t have the time to think and plan that long straightaways allow.

In addition to requiring more from the driver, a car that works at the larger speedways might not handle well enough for Atlanta. Balance is much more important this weekend.

Those differences play right into Trackhouse’s strengths.

The graph below shows drivers’ average finishes at Atlanta in yellow and at Talladega & Daytona in blue. The graph only covers 2022 because that’s all the data we have for the Next Gen car. I included only drivers with a 15.5 or better average at Atlanta.

A two-bar chart comparing the average finishes of drivers at Atlanta relative to those at Daytona and Atlanta

Chastain and Suárez post average finishes around 20 at Daytona and Talladega. When it comes to Atlanta, however, Chastain and Suárez are first and second with average finishes of 2.0 and 5.0.

Chastain finished second in the spring and summer races at the revamped track. Those finishes are despite being involved in two accidents in each race. Suárez finished fourth at the first race and sixth at the second.

Trackhouse fields fast cars at Atlanta. Chastain qualified second at the second race and seventh at the first. Suárez qualified 13th at the first race and seventh at the second.

But speed isn’t the only factor. Despite being involved in accidents, both drivers completed both races. They also gained (or didn’t lose) positions during the last 10% of each race.

The competition

Chastain and Suárez aren’t the only drivers seeking to regain momentum at Atlanta.

It’s difficult to quantify how much of a threat Kyle Busch is because he changed teams this year. He had an average finish of 26.5 last year at Atlanta with Joe Gibbs Racing, but a brilliant run at this year’s Daytona 500.

If you’re wondering about Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., he has an average finish of 31.0 at Atlanta, with DNFs at both races.

Trackhouse’s biggest competition at Atlanta comes from Hendrick Motorsports. Trackhouse consistently placed just behind HMS last year at Atlanta.

  • William Byron, who enters Atlanta with two consecutive wins, won the first Atlanta race in 2022.
  • Chase Elliott won the second.
  • Chastain led the second-most laps at the first Atlanta race. Byron led the most.
  • Chastain led the third-most laps at the second Atlanta race. Elliott let the most, followed by Byron.
  • Suárez’s 46 points at the spring race is tied (with Ryan Blaney) for the third-most points earned at any Atlanta race in 2022.
    • Chase Elliott holds first place with a perfect 60-point race.
    • William Byron holds second with 52 points.

But 2023 presents new circumstances. Last year at this time, neither Chastain nor Suárez had ever won a Cup Series race.

This year, Elliott won’t race Atlanta due to a fractured left leg. His substitute, Josh Berry, earned his first top-10 last week. But Berry has only two races worth of experience in the Next Gen car. None are at superspeedways. He finished 33rd and second in the Xfinity Series last year at Atlanta.

Alex Bowman comes into Atlanta with an average finish of 21.0 at the track, while Kyle Larson‘s average is 21.5. Their 2022 average finishes at Talladega/Daytona are 15.7 and 22.75 respectively.

With Elliott out, Byron is the highest-ranking HMS driver in terms of average finish at Atlanta with a 15.5. In addition to the spring win, a crash relegated him to a 30th-place finish in the summer race.

But Louvergate puts the HMS drivers at a further disadvantage. Their crew chiefs are serving four-week suspensions, although HMS has appealed the penalties. Hendrick has a deep bench, but any disruption introduces the opportunity for hiccups.

This year, Trackhouse has one major advantage over Byron in this race: No driver wants Byron to win. It’s better for everyone if no driver accumulates too many points, stage points or playoff points. Chase Elliott proved that last year.

But winning at Atlanta requires the Trackhouse drivers to address issues that have plagued them in previous seasons.

Suárez has a history of speeding penalties and a knack for incurring them too late in the race to recover. Getting a pass-through penalty at Atlanta likely means losing multiple laps if a driver has to serve it under green conditions.

Chastain’s aggressive driving has made enemies. Chastain lost 18 positions following last week’s altercation with Hamlin. But even a driver choosing not to work with Chastain can send him to the back quickly.

Austin Hill wins Atlanta Xfinity race


HAMPTON, Ga. — Austin Hill won for the third time this season, as Parker Kligerman finished fourth with his car going across the finish line backward.

Daniel Hemric finished second. Ryan Truex placed third and was followed by Kligerman and Riley Herbst.

MORE: Atlanta race results, driver points 

Kligerman was racing Hill for the win coming to the finish line when Kligerman got turned by after contact with two cars, triggering a multi-car crash.

Hill, who is from Winston, Georgia, has won at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta in the first five races of the season.

The 163-lap race was slowed by 12 cautions for 68 laps.

Josh Willams was ordered to the NASCAR hauler after he parked his car on the frontstretch and walked away during the race. Williams’ car had been involved in a crash early in the race and then caused a debris caution shortly after the race restarted.

NASCAR ordered him to the garage and be done for the race when Williams parked his car on track. Williams was to meet with series officials after the race. Williams finished 32nd in the 38-car race.

Stage 1 winner: Sheldon Creed

Stage 2 winner: Parker Kligerman

Who had a good race: Daniel Hemric’s runnner-up finish was his best of the season. … Ryan Truex has finished in the top three in both of his series starts this year. … Parker Kligerman earned his fourth career top five. … Riley Herbst scored his eighth consecutive top-10 finish, dating back to last season.

Who had a bad race: Josh Williams parked his car on track after being ordered off it by NASCAR. … Justin Allgaier finished 29th after a wreck that started with contact from teammate Josh Berry.

Next: The series races March 25 at Circuit of the Americas (5 p.m. ET at FS1)

Friday 5: Kyle Busch making an impact at RCR off the track


While Kyle Busch gave Richard Childress Racing its first Cup victory of the season last month, his greatest contribution could be how he pushes the organization and those teams aligned with RCR.

Busch’s level of preparedness, his observations and questions in meetings already have made an impact in the beginning of his tenure. 

“He’s bringing things to the table for us that we haven’t had,” Andy Petree, RCR vice president of competition, told NBC Sports.

Austin Dillon cited Busch’s feedback as among the areas his new teammate would make at impact when the deal with Busch was announced last September.

“You’re probably never going to have to doubt any kind of feedback from him,” Dillon said then. “If he says the cars are struggling here, we go to work on that.”

Busch said he and the team discussed in January how they prepare for each event and how to merge those ideas in their meetings.

“I brought up a lot of different topics,” Busch said. “I still don’t have all of what I want accomplished yet. Most of that is data-driven and stuff you get after practice or after qualifying, so still pushing on much of that.”

Busch described the team meetings as having “gone well” this season.

“I feel like they’ve been a little bit productive,” he said. “Hopefully those that are with us in those meetings feel the same way, so it’s been a good sense. I know Austin and I have really liked the way that it is and how we got it set up, so it’s been useful for us.”

Petree, who was Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief for Earnhardt’s final two Cup championships, says that Busch provides more detail with the car than Earnhardt did.

“Earnhardt was an incredible driver, but he didn’t have this knack that Kyle has for breaking down so many details in the car,” Petree said. “Earnhardt would go out and get you every ounce of speed that was in it, but he wasn’t really great as far as giving that detailed feedback. 

“You had to pull anything out of him. … Kyle will just pick that thing apart, the things that you don’t even think about.”

Kaulig Racing and Legacy Motor Club are aligned with Richard Childress Racing and all three teams meet together. Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley says seeing how Busch operates in those sessions has made an impact on him.

“I’ll say Kyle, he never doesn’t ask a question,” Haley said. “If there’s even a thought in his mind of a what if or why, he’s not afraid to ask it. I really appreciate it of him. 

“Our alliance and our organization in general, he pushes us. He’s not afraid to say, ‘Hey, this is not what we’re supposed to be doing. Hey this is wrong,’ or ‘Hey, this is right.’ 

“I think what you appreciate about him is that he always asks why. Even though he has this much experience, he always still has to learn. He’s pushing all of us in a direction that is good.”

Erik Jones experienced team meetings with Busch when both were at Joe Gibbs Racing. Now with Legacy Motor Club, Jones is again seeing the impact Busch can make with a team off the track.

“He approaches the meetings more like we did in those days,” Jones said. “I think it’s been really good for the group. I think, overall, it’s brought some good structure in, it’s brought some good and better feedback and probably focusing on more of the correct things that need to, things that are really going to make the cars go fast.”

2. Restart zone plans

Sunday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway marks the final race in NASCAR’s five-race trial with the expanded restart zone. Series officials will decide after this weekend whether to keep the restart zone the size it is now or return it to its smaller size. 

NASCAR expanded the length of the restart zone to give the leader more time to decide when to go. In a smaller restart zone, other drivers have more of a chance to guess when the leader will go and match him, limiting the leader’s advantage.

The only major incident in the restart zone came at Fontana, California, when leader Joey Logano waited toward the end of the zone to go. Other cars behind guessed when he would go and then had to slow since he had yet to accelerate, causing an accordion affect that collected nine cars.

“I don’t think that is going to be the last time you see it,” Ross Chastain said of the incident. “I don’t think it will be that big, but some stack-ups and some bumper-tagging will keep happening.”

Kyle Busch said he doesn’t believe the expanded restart zone provides much of an advantage for the leader.

“I think all it’s done is cause that wreck at California,” Busch said. “So, in my opinion, it’s done nothing different; nothing on the positive end. It’s only added a negative end to it because at California, Joey was just maintaining his speed and everyone was gaining, gaining, gaining, gaining and closing up their gaps because they were all trying to lay back and then time the run. 

“So he just waited for everybody to run into everybody and then went at the end of the zone. So the later you make that zone, the more anticipation everyone has and the more of an accordion effect that you’ll get. I knew that going in, and I was not a proponent of lengthening that zone, but nobody tends to listen to me a whole lot.”

Martin Truex Jr., who said he is fine with the restart zone continuing as is, said that the key is what the drivers do.

“They tell us all not to lay back on restarts all the time,” he said. “A lot of guys get away with doing it a whole lot more than others. As long as we can all stay closed up, it’s not going to be a problem. It’s given the leader an advantage, which is what it should be.”

3. Reunited

The suspensions to all four Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs — as part of the significant penalties NASCAR levied against the teams for modifications to the hood louvers — leads to a driver/crew chief combination reuniting.

Greg Ives will serve as the crew chief for Alex Bowman this weekend at Atlanta. Ives was Bowman’s crew chief from 2018-22 after having worked together in the 10 races Bowman filled in for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016.

Ives has worked on the Garage 56 car Hendrick Motorsports is preparing for NASCAR to showcase at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Asked if Ives had helped speed the communication between Bowman and new crew chief Blake Harris this season, Bowman said last weekend: “Things has been great. Greg has been super busy with the Garage 56 deal. I’ve seen him here and there but not a ton. I think Greg was really good about kind of preparing Blake and helping the transition in, but he’s super occupied right now.”

Although Hendrick Motorsports is appealing the penalties, the team decided to have all four crew chiefs sit out this weekend’s race to count toward one of the four races they’ll have to miss should they lose their appeal.

Not having a regular crew chief this weekend shouldn’t adversely impact the Hendrick teams. There’s no practice. Cars will have only qualifying before the race. Crew chiefs typically have limited impact in a superspeedway race.

4. Focused

With his move to Cup, rookie Ty Gibbs no longer is going back-and-forth between the Xfinity and Cup Series. Last year, Gibbs won the Xfinity championship and ran 15 Cup races, filling in for the injured Kurt Busch.

With his focus on Cup, it’s allowed him to concentrate on preparing for those events and also having some time off. 

“Definitely a little more peaceful, for sure,” Gibbs said of this season compared to last year and running both series. “Having a little bit more free time …  I think is really important. Allowing me to have more time to study one thing, I think, that’s allowed me to get around the learning curve quicker than it was having to worry about winning the championship in the other series and just like having so much stuff going on.”

Gibbs can appreciate what Josh Berry is doing, competing in the Xfinity Series while filling in for an injured Chase Elliott.

“I respect and really appreciate Josh,” Gibbs said. “He’s a good friend to me and he’s a really great racecar driver and very talented. Happy for him for the opportunity and hope that Chase heals up fast.

“But for (Berry), I think just enjoying the moment is the biggest thing. It’s really hard because there’s a lot going on. You’re worried about running Xfinity and Cup. Just enjoy the moment. I think that’s the biggest thing. Learn as much as you can.”

5. Avoiding history

The two Atlanta races last year combined for 24 cautions — including 19 for incidents. 

At least 30 cars were involved in accidents in both races last year, the first year of the track reconfiguration that included higher banking in the turns.

Both races had at least one accident that involved at least nine cars. 

“I feel like Atlanta is probably the most mentally draining place that we go to now,” Chase Briscoe said. “It’s kind of a hybrid. It’s obviously a shorter track by an entire mile versus a Daytona or Talladega, but it’s the same concept of racing.

“You’re in a pack, but with being a mile shorter things just happen so much faster. Your reaction time has to be better. The runs develop so much faster and quicker. Your spotter has to be able to communicate to you a lot quicker and your brain has to process things a lot quicker.”

Hendrick Motorsports names interim crew chiefs for Atlanta weekend


Hendrick Motorsports has selected four interim crew chiefs to work with its Cup Series drivers this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Crew chiefs for Kyle Larson, Josh Berry, William Byron and Alex Bowman were suspended for four races by NASCAR Wednesday as part of penalties assessed to the Hendrick team for parts violations at Phoenix Raceway last week. Hendrick announced that it will appeal the penalties but has chosen not to defer the suspensions of Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Rudy Fugle and Blake Harris.

Kevin Meendering will be Larson’s interim crew chief at Atlanta. Greg Ives will work with Bowman, Brian Campe with Byron and Tom Gray with Berry.

Byron won races at Las Vegas and Phoenix and will be seeking a third consecutive victory Sunday at Atlanta.

NASCAR issued the following penalties to Hendrick Motorsports Wednesday:

  • Docked Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and William Byron 100 points and also penalized them 10 playoff points each.
  • Suspended crew chiefs Daniels, Gustafson, Fugle and Harris four races each. NASCAR also fined each $100,000.
  • NASCAR penalized each of the four Hendrick teams 100 owner points and 10 playoff points.

As a result of the penalties, Bowman, who had been the points leader, fell to 23rd place.